248 episodes

Feed your mind. Be provoked. One big idea at a time. Your brain will love you for it. Grab your front row seat to the best live forums and festivals with Natasha Mitchell.

Big Ideas ABC listen

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.4 • 61 Ratings

Feed your mind. Be provoked. One big idea at a time. Your brain will love you for it. Grab your front row seat to the best live forums and festivals with Natasha Mitchell.

    Don Watson on democracy

    Don Watson on democracy

    Author, essayist and speechwriter Don Watson says that the price of democracy is energy, imagination, and unstinting hard work. Through the lens of Trump's America, and the malaise of Australian politics, Watson questions whether our modern democracies are up to the job. This event was recorded on Bunurong country at the Sorrento Writers' Festival on April 25 2024.


    Don Watson, Author, essayist and speechwriter

    • 53 min
    The incredible saga of the world’s first peace treaty — it comes from the Middle East

    The incredible saga of the world’s first peace treaty — it comes from the Middle East

    On the doorstep of Gaza comes the remarkable story of the world's first peace treaty — a 3200-year-old text. Egyptologist Dr Camilla Di Biase-Dyson joins Big Ideas host Natasha Mitchell to share a political and personal soap opera that brought an enduring peace to a region now suffering from a bloody war.


    Dr Camilla Di Biase-Dyson
    Linguist and Egyptologist
    Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University

    • 54 min
    Higher education for everyone in Australia — is it doable?

    Higher education for everyone in Australia — is it doable?

    Disadvantaged and marginalised students often don't get the financial and teaching support that they need. Equity everyone, regardless of their background, is one of the most pressing challenges facing out higher education sector. 

    The government released the Universities Accord Final Report earlier this year – and it recommends sweeping changes.

    What are the main recommendations? And are they any good?

    Access, Achievement, Accord 2024 was presented at The Australian Student Equity Symposium, Curtin University.


    Dr Kylie Austin
    President for Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia

    Professor Verity Firth
    Vice President Societal Impact, Equity and Engagement at the University of New South Wales

    Professor Barney Glover
    Commissioner of Jobs and Skills Australia

    Professor Harlene Hayne
    Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University

    Professor Mary O'Kane
    Chair of the Universities Accord Review; director and executive chairman of the consultancy O'Kane Associates

    Professor Shamit Saggar (host)
    Executive Director Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success, Curtin University

    Further information

    Australian Universities Accord Final Report Document

    • 54 min
    Creativity in the Sri Lankan diaspora

    Creativity in the Sri Lankan diaspora

    Award winning playwright S. Shakthidharan has described his groundbreaking theatre work Counting and Cracking as "a radical act of belonging". The epic, three-act, three-hour tale captures the Australian migrant experience through the story of one Sri Lankan family across four generations. To celebrate the play's return to the stage, we hear from four Sri Lankan Australians about the role creativity has played in their lives, culture and community.

    This event was recorded at the University of Melbourne (UMAC) in partnership with Rising Festival and The Wheeler Centre on June 2, 2024.


    S. Shakthidharan Writer, Director, Producer and composer of original music
    Author, Counting and Cracking
    Co-Founder and Co-Director, Kurinji

    Minoli De Silva Owner, Ella by Minoli
    Finalist, Masterchef Australia

    Suren Jayemanne Comedian, writer, presenter

    Bhakthi Puvanenthiran (host) Entertainment and Features Editor, ABC

    Further information

    How writing the epic play Counting and Cracking helped Tamil playwright S. Shakthidharan's mum face her trauma
    ABC Online, May 27, 2024

    'We are here, we belong' — The unifying impact of Counting and Cracking 
    The Stage Show, ABC RN, June 11, 2024

    • 52 min
    Andre de Quadros on freedom dreaming

    Andre de Quadros on freedom dreaming

    Drawing on his experiences working across continents in the "shatter zones" of society — jails, war zones, refugee shelters – Andre de Quadros explains how music and creativity can be used to build peace, reconciliation and empowerment in a troubled world. Later, Anne-Marie Forbes explains how music improves mental, physical and community well-being.

    These events were recorded at the 2024 Miegunyah Lecture at the University of Melbourne on April 11, 2024, and Melodies as Medicine at the University of Tasmania on April 10, 2024.


    Andre de Quadros Professor of Music, Boston University
    2024 Miegunyah Visiting Fellow, University of Melbourne

    Anne-Marie Forbes Associate Professor Musicology, University of Tasmania
    Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health.

    Nourish Women's Choir

    • 5 min
    Ocean bounty — deep sea mining, Sea Shepherd sagas, and seaweed solutions

    Ocean bounty — deep sea mining, Sea Shepherd sagas, and seaweed solutions

    Join Natasha Mitchell and guests at the 2024 Ocean Lovers Festival in Bondi. From deep sea mining to illegal fishing on the high seas, who is the boss of the ocean? And why are scientists-turned-entrepreneurs singing the praises of seaweed?  Two panels of big thinkers exploring new frontiers for ocean exploitation — and inspiration — the risks, the rewards, and the regulation of this vast wilderness which covers 70% of the planet's surface

    Panel 1 - Who owns the high seas and deep seas? Deep sea mining and illegal fishing 

    Associate Professor Aline Jaeckel
    Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS)
    University of Wollongong

    Captain Peter Hammarstedt
    Director of Campaigns and Chairman of Sea Shepherd Australia

    Mattheiu Rytz
    Director of the film Deep Rising

    Panel 2 - Is algae the new gold?

    Dr Michael Askew
    Executive Director and co-founder
    Algae Co

    Dr Pia Winberg
    Founder and chief scientist
    Venus Shell Systems

    Dr Alexandra Thomson,
    Industry Engagement Manager
    Climate Change Cluster (C3) Research Institute
    University of Technology Sydney

    • 58 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
61 Ratings

61 Ratings

rromarrio ,

Great Podcast

Great topics. Mind provoking. Always insightful. I enjoy it daily…

Cozzum ,

Eclectic, Cosmopolitan yet very Aussie

A true treasure from down under to help fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of how the world works. Somehow life got very complex along the way and keeping up with the barrage of changes is a monumental chore at times. I never dreamed that discussions, lectures, debates and so on, from half way around the world, would help keep me oriented towards a realistic perspective on the world's events and issues. Recommended for anyone who craves something more from somewhere else.

Many Thanks to all the staff who make this program possible. To speak in the parlance of the zeitgeist
"You're Awesome!"

Ogilbeats ,

Deep dive into Woke ideology

There are some scientifically rigorous and interesting talks, but most speakers chosen are aimed at getting all the brownie points from the far left identity politics movement. How we must now focus on “age-ist discrimination” has been the straw that’s broken the camels back for me.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Where Everybody Knows Your Name with Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson (sometimes)
Team Coco & Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson
Stuff You Should Know
Shawn Ryan Show
Shawn Ryan | Cumulus Podcast Network
The Ezra Klein Show
New York Times Opinion
This American Life
This American Life
Magical Overthinkers
Amanda Montell & Studio71

You Might Also Like

Rear Vision — How History Shaped Today
ABC listen
The Minefield
ABC listen
Background Briefing
ABC listen
Late Night Live - Full program podcast
ABC listen
All In The Mind
ABC listen
Future Tense
ABC listen

More by ABC Podcasts

Stuff The British Stole
ABC listen and CBC
All In The Mind
ABC listen
Short & Curly
ABC listen
ABC KIDS News Time
ABC Kids listen
ABC listen
Finding Drago | Finding Desperado
ABC listen